Series: The Chemical Garden #1
Published by Simon & Schuster BFYR
Published on: March 22, 2011
Genres: Fiction, Young Adult, Dystopian
Source: Personal Copy
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About the Book
By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children.
When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can't bring herself to hate him as much as she'd like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband's strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape--before her time runs out?
Together with one of Linden's servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?
Why, oh why did I take so long to read Wither by Lauren DeStefano?
I picked this book up sometime back in June. While initially intrigued enough by the premise to buy the book, it languished on my shelf unread until October. Of course once I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down. The book was freaking fabulous.
You know the book is good when it takes you from one end of the spectrum to the other emotionally. There were times I was totally creeped out (Sister Wives?), enraged (a 20 something sleeping with a 13 year old), happy (every time Rhine pulled the wool over Linden’s eyes), and so on. I found myself shaking the book sometimes imagining that I was shaking some sense into a few of the characters.
I think this really had to be my first experience with the Dystopian genre since I started blogging. Wither was such a good introduction to the genre that everything else that I have read since hasn’t quite measured up. I think it dealt with some really controversial topics and handled them quite well in the context of the story. It was easy to get lost in the book and to make Rhine’s story my own. What I did like was that Rhine wasn’t all rage against the machine. She was wronged, she knows it, she has a plan and she knows she needs to pick her battles. That is someone who knows how to strategize and play the game that is life.
I will say that no character annoyed me as much as Linden did. There were so many times I just wanted to grab him and help him pull his head out of his behind. To me, he was the worst kind of character. Not because he was cruel or anything, but rather because he just was. He was just willing to bury his head in the sand and except whatever fate or his father told him. That kind of blind faith, when your life is on the line is just inexcusable and unexplainable. Here’s hoping that he experiences some personal growth in book two.